Between 2005 and 2014, smoking rates among Between 2005 and 2014, smoking rates among

Smoking Rates Increase Among Pregnant Women with Depression

Pregnant woman smoking in an alleywayBetween 2005 and 2014, smoking rates among pregnant women with depression increased while rates among other groups decreased, according to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

More Pregnant Women with Depression Are Smoking

Researchers analyzed smoking data from more than 8,500 pregnant women who participated in the National Study on Drug Use and Health. This annual cross-sectional survey polls a representative sample of the United States population. The study included data from 2002-2014.

Researchers found a modest decrease in smoking rates among pregnant women without depression—from 12.5% in 2005 to 9.1% in 2014. Among pregnant women with depression, smoking increased—from 35.9% in 2005 to 38.4% in 2014.

Disadvantaged women—including women of color, women with low incomes, and women with lower educational attainment—were more likely to smoke during pregnancy.

Understanding Smoking in Pregnant Women with Depression

Because the correlation between depression and smoking has increased over time, even as public health campaigns have lowered the overall smoking rate, the study’s authors suggest depression can be a strong predictor of smoking. Some women with depression may not realize the effect their mental health has on their smoking. As a result, the authors suggest any attempts to help pregnant women stop smoking should also include screening and treatment for depression.

Depression during pregnancy can increase the likelihood that a woman will engage in unhealthy behaviors during pregnancy, such as drinking alcohol or not getting adequate nutrition. These behaviors are risk factors for many pregnancy-related issues, including premature birth, giving birth to a baby with a dangerously low birth weight, and having a baby with behavioral issues. In some women, pregnancy can make depression worse or cause depression that was in remission to return.

Although some studies have shown a correlation between antidepressant use during pregnancy and child issues such as autism, others have found no correlation. Pregnant women should know the risks of untreated depression may outweigh any potential risks associated with antidepressants. Women concerned about using antidepressants while pregnant may find relief from therapy, lifestyle changes, and support from loved ones.


  1. Goodwin, R. D., Cheslack-Postava, K., Nelson, D. B., Smith, P. H., Wall, M. M., Hasin, D. S., . . . Galea, S. (2017). Smoking during pregnancy in the United States, 2005–2014: The role of depression. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.06.021
  2. Smoking is on the rise among pregnant women with depression. (2017, August 8). Retrieved from

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  • Leave a Comment
  • robin

    August 16th, 2017 at 10:51 AM

    I know that to stop smoking has to be a challenging thing.
    I am lucky that I do not know this first hand, only from friends and family that I have watched when they have tried to quit.
    But if anything on earth should make you feel like you can do this and quit wouldn’t it be being pregnant?

  • mandy

    August 18th, 2017 at 2:47 PM

    Not everyone will be fortunate enough to have a solid family structure to rely and depend upon when they are expecting a child. It would be wonderful if we all had that but unfortunately for some of us this is not necessarily the happiest thing that has happened to us and yeah when you get depressed you fall back into the habits that have always been there for you and kept you going in the past.

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